What started out as an idea for a Christmas gift to satisfy his daughter’s appetite to walk the runway has now turned into a business for a Maple Ridge entrepreneur.
Benjamin Miller will be at the 19th annual West Coast Women’s Show at the Abbotsford TRADEX from Oct. 18 to 20 to showcase his new MiStage, a ready to assemble, modular portable stage that can be reconfigured into 40 different layouts.
“It actually came from my daughter, she’s really big into singing [and] gymnasts… and basically I wanted to encourage her to do it,” he said.
The 34-year-old accountant said it was around this time last year when he set out to purchase his daughter a children’s stage to perform on, but he didn’t find any “ready-made kits.” After doing some research he thought there might be a market for his MiStage.
“I had no clue what I was doing; I’m a numbers guy,” Miller laughed.
The father of two has spent the last year working out of his two car garage creating the portable, modular stage and officially launched the finished product earlier this month.
“I’ve done all the development myself, it’s been trial and error,” he said.
The stage is marketed as a platform children can use to act, play or dance on. In the future Miller hopes to expand his business to include add-ons for the stage that will allow kids to have puppet shows and hang their wardrobe.
The trade show will be the first time Miller showcases his design to the public, but his most important audience, his daughter is already a fan.
“She absolutely loves it, and she tells all her friends about it,” he said.
Miller’s company, MiWay Designs, will be one of over 400 pop-up boutiques at the “Ultimate Girl’s Weekend” in Abbotsford.
The trade show will be an opportunity to experience entertainment on three stages including, celebrity and culinary legend Chef Massimo Capra from Chopped: Canada and Top Chef Canada. Capra will be live on the Chef’s Kitchen Stage on Saturday, Oct. 19.
Also on Saturday, Canadian artist Bif Naked will hosting an intimate conversation on the main stage, headlining the Women Empowering Women series.
Fans of the long-running soap opera Young and the Restless can catch Michelle Stafford, or better known as her character Phyllis Summers, live on the main stage on Sunday, Oct. 20.
New additions to the show include Veg Showcase and Sustainable Living which will allow guests to sample vegan and vegetarian food products, offer guests tools needed to grow produce and share information about “eco-friendly skincare.”
This year’s show will also see returning favourites like the Hall of Flame Calender Firefighters fashion show and Martini Nights; the World of Taste, offering samples of cuisine, Artisan’s Marketplace, showcasing “all things crafty” and Canadian; and the Fashion and Style area with have the Fashion Hub featuring five trendy boutiques and fashion trucks in B.C.
For more information and discounted tickets visit www.westcoastwomen.net
West Coast Women’s Show
• The event takes place at the TRADEX Trade and Exhibition Centre in Abbotsford at 1190 Cornell St. on Friday, Oct. 18 from 1 to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Tickets for adults are $12; tickets for seniors (65 years old or older) are $9, or $7 if attending on Seniors’ Day, Friday from 1 to 5 p.m.; tickets for youth (13 to 17 years old) are $9; tickets for children (six to 12 years old) are $4; children under the age of five are free.
• Adults save $2 off the price of tickets purchased online.